By HERBERT MITGANG
ggM ORt. than ever, books are!
k^^vsMfk '] taking off from .news
events — and often making !
*-=•* tifkj news themselves. Here are
some cases in point :
“In Re Alger Hiss,” with an introduc-
tion by Thomas I. Emerson, professor
of law at Yale University, will be pub-
lished in April by Hill and Wang/Far-
rar, Straus & Giroux. It is a rare exam-
ple of. an actual petition to the courts
coming out as a book, and it is, in fact,
a facsimile of the pages that the judge
received last summer in the United
States District Court for the Southern
District of New York.
•' “To my knowledge,” says' Arthtar
Wang, the book’s publisher, “such a
petition has never before appeared in’
this form from a trade house while a
matter is before the courts. We are
bringing it out . in cloth and paper. It
sheds new light on the Hiss case and the
era of McCarthyism.' f
“The petition, which asks that Mr.
Hiss’s 1350 conviction on charges of:
perjury be set aside, is based on some!
60,000 pages of documents only re- i
cently released under the Freedom of!
Information Act by the F.B.I., C.I.A.;
and other Federal agencies. We believe!
that it is a readable document that will!
interest law professors, political scien-i
lists, historians and the general public, i
It is a self-contained argument that;
does not say that Hiss was guilty or in-j
nocent but, rather, that there were!
violations of his constitutional rights.” 1
Edited by Edith Tiger, director of the !
National ; Emergency Civil Liberties!
Foundation,. "In Re Alger Hiss” in-j
eludes a number of exhibits obtained ! '
under the Freedom of Information Act. %
The petition, which makes up the ; bulk i
of the book, was written by Victor Rabi- ■
nowitz of Rabinowitz, Boudin & Stand-1
ard. The foundation plans- to distribute
10.CCO copies in the paperback edition,
In his introduction, Professor Emer-
son says: “While the petition for a writ 1
of error coram nobis in the Hiss case;
represents the essence of lawyerism, it I
, is not written in technical legal Ian- j
guage. It makes good reading for lay ;
persons as well as lawyers. And the ex- j
hibits give a fascinating insight into the :
workings of the F.B.I. The Hiss case is
part and parcel of our society, and it is ;
to be hoped that this latest document in :
the matter will be widely read.”' j
Next month, the United States Attor-
ney’s office for the Southern District of
New York is expected to respond to the j
petition — and place the Hiss case, '
which has been debated for 30 years, on
the front pages again. j